We already knew Australia’s borders were likely to stay shut until the end of the year: a blow both to Aussies desperate for a break outside the country and to travellers dreaming of a trip Down Under. Now it looks like they could be waiting even longer. Qantas, Australia’s biggest airline, has said it does not expect to fly any international routes until – wait for it – July 2021.
Australian citizens and permanent residents are currently banned from leaving the country and no international travellers are being allowed in, except for those on a short list of exemptions.
Qantas is not the only airline that normally operates cross-border flights out of Australia, but it and its subsidiary Jetstar were responsible for more than a quarter of the country’s international flight capacity in 2017 – so its official statement is a strong hint that it doesn’t expect international travel to restart for another ten months.
For Australians, that would mean that globetrotting is off the cards until next winter (except in the case of a possible trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand), and that the country’s tourism industry would miss out on peak season.
Those desperate to fly somewhere – anywhere – from Australia can board a series of scenic day flights over Antarctica, starting in November. Tickets are available from A$1,199 (that’s £653 or $861).
Qantas’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, said the company was experiencing ‘the worst trading conditions in our 100-year history’, reports The Independent. He added: ‘To put it simply, we’re an airline that can’t really fly to many places – at least for now.’ Alan, we feel you.
This content was originally published here.